Wines of the Month



MAY, 1999


May Contrasts

This is the first of what I hope will be many listings of my choices of wines of the month. Each month, I'll post tasting notes for wines that I have recently enjoyed and that I think will fit well with the season. Generally, I'll try to focus on wines which I believe offer good value for the price, though I won't always pick inexpensive wines. Comments on these wines are always welcome, even if you think I've completely missed the boat.

May is a month of contrasts around here. Some days promise that summer is coming, with warm breezes and sunny skies. Other gray, cold, rainy days make one think that winter hasn't quite given up. As a result, I've decided to write about two very different wines, one for the bright spring days, and one for when the chill doesn't seem to go away.

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Fall Harvest Martinborough (New Zealand) '98 -- Nice citrus & mineral aromas, with a hint of herbs. In the mouth, this is fairly big and fruity for a NZ SB, with plenty of grapefruit, lemon and apple, along with a light touch of herbs and freshly mown grass. The finish is long, with flavors of grapefruit and wet stones, along with some herbal character and thirst-quenching levels of acidity. Nobilo avoids the very vegetal flavors found in many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but still retains the varietal character which is missing in so many California examples. Not a profound wine, but at around $7/bottle, a very good value for everyday drinking.
B+

Marques de Murietta Ygay Collection 2100 Rioja (Spain) '96 -- For those cooler nights, when a crisp white would make you shiver, this hearty red should warm you up. The nose greets you with aromas of plum, leather, blackberry, and fresh meat. In the mouth, the fruit leads the way, with generous plum and blackberry flavors, along with hints of leather and game adding complexity. Finally, tastes of plum, anise and a touch of citrus, bring you to a medium-length finish. The tannins are smooth, but there's definitely enough backbone, though it doesn't have as much acid and oak as many Rioja wines. This wine is made for easy, early drinking, at a very good price.
B+


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